A True Texas Star
Huser Construction Company Inc.
Based in historic Kerrville, Texas, privately-owned Huser Construction is a highly efficient operation. Using its decades of combined experience and a well-trained staff of about twenty-eight, the company often takes on projects ranging from about $1 million to $10 million in a variety of sectors from multi-family dwellings, healthcare facilities, churches, schools, restaurants and banks to retail, public spaces and restorations of historic properties.
Huser Construction Company Inc. refer to themselves as “Partners for creative construction solutions” and they have been living up to their slogan. With a solid, experienced management team and dedicated workers, some of whom have been with the company since the beginning, two decades ago, Huser Construction looks forward to meeting the building needs of all clients.
The company, located near San Antonio and Austin, works professionally, safely, on time and within budget on all projects, big and small. It is the same positive attitude, work ethic, and commitment to quality that has led the company to success since it was founded in 1994 by President Steve Huser and his wife, Vice President Shawnna Huser. Rounding out the company’s management team is Human Resource Manager Jeanne Stacy and Scott Rain who started with Huser Construction fifteen years ago as a senior project manager, and has served as director of operations for the past twelve years.
“Steve and I worked together in Houston,” says Rain, who earned a construction management degree from Southern Illinois University. “I did general contracting work, and Steve was a mechanical contractor who wanted to set out, start his own business and work for himself.”
Twenty-one years later, Huser Construction has grown to include experienced project managers, project superintendents, field labor workers, administrative staff and others with a variety of complementary experience. Unlike construction companies that hire staff for specific projects, Huser does its best to keep its workers. Some workers, like Raul Ruiz, have been with the company since the very beginning, and others have been an integral part of the business almost as long.
As a mid-sized business in Texas, Rain says much of Huser Construction’s success comes from its adaptability, as it can take on all types of projects. In the past few years, the company has completed several apartment complexes including the $9.2 million Oakland Hills Apartments in Floresville; the $8 million Point Royale Apartments in Victoria; and the $11 million Blanco River Lodge Apartments in San Marcos. While many projects present challenges, some, such as the Reserve at Lone Oak Apartments in San Antonio, Texas, a two-hundred-unit apartment complex, required considerable expertise – provided by the team at Huser.
“One of the challenges was that the site was low, and it needed to be raised up,” says Rain. “There were some floodplain issues, as it was built close to one of the rivers near there, and had some low areas. We were able to mine some materials on site to build the pads up.” The site was a former cattle pasture in an undeveloped area. The project was started in May of 2013 and most of it was subcontracted out. The company faced additional pressures. Since the site of the two-storey apartments was in a rural area, access to power and telecommunications proved to be difficult, and, even though water was available at the site, the pressure was not very good.
“Although it was an undeveloped area, we worked through those challenges early on,” says Rain. The project also saw Huser work with the client on permits and approvals for the $15.3 million complex, which was completed on time in September of 2014.
The company is positioned very well within the market and usually works within a two hundred-mile radius of its home base.
Just as adept at working on existing projects as new ones, Huser Construction has successfully completed numerous historic renovation works over the years. The $2.1 million twelve-floor renovation of the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio and the $700,000 renovation of the Union State Bank in Kerrville were two of these. The Union State Bank project saw the company win the Presidential Award from the Downtown Association for ‘Best Rehabilitation Project in the State of Texas’.
Another key renovation project for Huser was the historic Schreiner Building, located at 200 Earl Garrett Street at Water Street in Kerrville. Starting out, decades ago, as a dry goods store, the Schreiner Building had additions over the years. The last tenant, a department store, closed up shop and the structure was left vacant for years before being purchased by the Cailloux Foundation. The entire community was eager to see Huser Construction resurrect the building, and transform it to its former glory.
The work involved required considerable attention to detail. Eroded mortar between the exposed brick was tuck-pointed; the façade was cleaned; and the roof was replaced as were all of the original wooden windows which had rotted over decades and lost their counter balance weights. Additionally, ventilation issues had to be addressed in the damp basement of the structure and open stairwells had to be refurbished and enclosed.
“There was also an old wooden elevator in there, which was really more of a platform on a pulley system,” says Rain. “We had to take that out of there and put a new elevator in.”
Today, the Schreiner Building stands as a magnificent testament to Kerrville’s past and provides a glimpse into its future. With exposed brick, a grand staircase to the second floor and a large chandelier, the once-empty building is now home to a number of different shops and restaurants on the first floor with legal offices and accountants on the second. The $5.8 million Schreiner Building project saw Huser Construction awarded The Built Environment Award, 2011 from the San Antonio Conservation Society for restoring the building to its 1919 condition.
Huser Construction gains jobs through a variety of means, including word-of-mouth; it has also earned considerable repeat business from local restaurants, hospitals and banks. In recent years, the company has seen growth in areas including education, churches and housing for workers engaged in the South Texas oil boom. Most of its projects are in the $5 million to $10 million range. Huser’s largest job to date was a $60 million joint venture with a company from Birmingham, Alabama, to build a hospital in Kerrville.
Within the healthcare construction field, projects include a new medical office – the Cailloux Professional Building – in Kerrville. The 30,400 square-foot structure was completed at a cost of $5.3 million in August of 2013 and received the 2014 Golden Trowel Award – Honorable Mention, along with recognition for superior project management in industrial / commercial construction and an award from the San Antonio Masonry Contractors Association.
No stranger to commercial projects, Huser has also done work for the Fuddrucker Restaurant chain and the remodeling of a new car sales area for Cecil Atkission Motors in Kerrville. In the public arena, the company has taken on projects such as the new 15,000 square-foot two storey city hall and renovations to the adjacent property, clock tower, elevator and pedestrian bridge, also in Kerrville.
While working on a diverse range of multi-family apartment complexes, schools, retail outlets, healthcare facilities, restaurants, churches, banks and more, one thing remains consistent: Huser Construction’s unparalleled commitment to safety. Huser has been recognized by the nationally-based Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., of which it is a member, for its outstanding safety program, written in both English and Spanish.
“Most of our workforce in South Texas is Hispanic, and so communicating with them can be a challenge. Several of our superintendents are bilingual. We have been very successful in avoiding any real accidents, and I think we are up to seven years without a recordable injury,” states Rain. “The owners are very concerned about the well-being of their employees and having a policy you can go through with employees and explain how things work and what the benefits are to them.”
The company trains new hires on safety, works with a third-party engineering safety consultant and ensures that all superintendents and project managers are certified. A $100 gift certificate is awarded every week in a ‘safety bingo’. The company’s many safety awards include the Amerisure Insurance and IBTX Risk Services – Over 300,000 hours worked without a lost time injury award (2011), the National Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. STEP (Safety Training and Evaluation Process) Award – Diamond Level (2014) and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. South Texas Chapter Safety Excellence Award – Bronze Award (2012).
A successful and well-respected business, Huser Construction looks forward to working with existing and new clients in the future. “We’re continuing to be diverse in our project types,” says Rain. “Several years ago, we didn’t have apartment experience, and now we’ve built four or five of them. Our new projects coming up include some sports complexes — we’ve got two projects like that, for separate communities. But I think Texas, South Texas and the San Antonio areas are still very strong economic regions, so I think there are a lot of opportunities to continue to stay busy.”